Fifty-Six (56)

OBJECT OF 56: The object of 56 is to not run out of tables before the other teams. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4, 6, or 8 players

MATERIALS: Two modified 52-card decks, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



56 is a trick-taking card game for 4, 6, or 8 players. Players split into teams of 2 with players sitting between two opponents. The goal of 56 is to not run out of tables before the other teams. The last team remaining with all the tables wins. 

Players can achieve this by bidding and winning tricks with high scoring cards in them. At the end of a round players will win or lose tables from other teams depending on their scores and their bids.


The decks will need to be modified, depending on the number of players. In 4 and 6 player games the 2s through 8s are removed from each deck and the remaining cards are used. In 8 player games, the 2s through 6s are removed. 

The first dealer is chosen randomly and passes to the right for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal hands based on the number of players. The deal is done counterclockwise. For 4-player games 12 card hands are dealt. For 6 and 8 player games, 8 card hands are dealt. 

The cards not used in the decks are used as tables. Each team receives 12 tables (or cards) at the start of the game. 

Bidding begins after hands are dealt and starts with the player right of the dealer. When bidding players state a numeric value for the score and a suit for trumps, or no trumps. The numeric score can be 28 at its minimum and 56 at its maximum. 

Bidding happens anticlockwise and when a new bid is made it must be numerically higher than the last bid, suits are not ranked nor is no trumps. The winner of the bid is contracting their team to achieve this score with the trumps specified. 

Players may bid or pass on their turn. If all players pass, then the game is played with no trumps and with the non-dealer team contracted to score 28 points. 

If an opponent is the last to bid before you may double the score instead of passing or bidding. This means the same point and trumps are used but achieving this provides double the points. bids can also be redoubled if previously doubled by an opponent. Redoubling ends the bidding session. 

The bidding ends once all players pass and the last bid wins, or a redouble is called. 

There is a system put into place where bids can be made in a certain way to inform your partner, or to misinform your opponents about the cards you hold in hand. 

For the first bid, 4 options are available. Number, suit. Suit, number. Number, No-trumps, and number, Noes. After the first bid, there are two more options added. These are: Plus number, suit, and Plus two, Noes. 

Number then suit indicates you have the highest card or cards of the suit you are calling for. Example, 28 Diamonds, meaning you hold the jack of diamonds and will contract a score of 28. 

Suit then number indicates you have a strong hand in that suit but not the highest card.  For example, Diamonds 28, meaning no jack of diamonds but still having high cards. 

No trumps usually indicates a strong hand with no particular suit. Example, 28 No trumps, meaning maybe you hold a couple Jacks of different suits. 

Noes indicates a player has no cards of the suit most recently used in a bid. For example, 29 Noes, meaning you hold no diamonds if the last bid was 28 diamonds. 

Plus number then suit indicates you hold that many high cards but no other cards of the suit. The number is also added to the previous bid. Example Plus 2 diamonds, means you hold two high diamonds but no other cards of diamonds. If the last bid was 28 diamonds, this also means now the bid is 30 diamonds. 

Card Ranking and Values

The ranking is different depending on the number of players. In 4 and 6 player games, the ranking is Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, and Queen (low). In 8-player games, the ranking is Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, and 7 (low). 

Cards also have values attached to them Jacks have a value of 3 points, 9s have 2, Aces have 1, 10s have 1, and all other cards have 0 points. 


56 is started with the player right of the dealer and continues anticlockwise. They may lead any card, and other players must follow suit. If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card. if there are trumps the highest trump wins. If there are no trumps the highest card of the suit lead wins. If there is a tie, the player who played first wins. The winner leads the next trick and takes the trick cards into their score pile. 


Once the round is over teams add up their score piles. Though only the bidding teams score pile is used, the others should be used to check. If the bidding team scored as many points as they were contracted, they have won, if not they have lost. Tables are paid out accordingly. 

If they won, they receive 1 table from other teams if the bid was 28 to 39, 2 tables if the bid was 40 to 47, 3 tables if the bid was 48 to 55, and 4 tables if the bid was 56. 

If the bidding team lost, they pay each other team 2 tables for a bid of 28 to 39, 3 tables for a bid of 40 to 47, 4 tables for a bid of 48 to 55, and 5 tables for a bid of 56. 

If a double was called, then the amount paid or received is doubles; if a redouble was called the amount is multiplied by 4. 


When a team runs out of tables, they have lost the game and can no longer continue. The last team with tables wins the game. 

Amber Crook
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